|Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 04 March 2011|
For no living thing could behold Ghatanothoa, or even a perfect graven image of Ghatanothoa, however small, without suffering a change more horrible than death itself. Sight of the god, or its image, as all the legends of the Yuggoth-spawn agreed, meant paralysis and petrifaction of a singularly shocking sort, in which the victim was turned to stone and leather on the outside, while the brain within remained perpetually alive - horribly fixed and prisoned through the ages…
- H.P. Lovecraft & Hazel Heald - Out of the Aeons
As a rule of thumb, in deck-building it’s a good idea to include the maximum number (usually three) of a specific card. After all, you choose the card because of the relevance towards your strategy and having three in your deck is the best way to make sure you’ll have the card available to you when you need it. And like any rule, sometimes you’ll need to break it.
Ancient Ones are notably not that bothered with rules and recommendations. In general, they have properties that push you to maybe include fewer than three. First of all, they are unique, meaning you can have only one copy of a specific Ancient One in play at any time. Furthermore, for any Ancient One to be taken seriously, your cost should be at least five or six. Or in case of Y’Golonac (Core Set, F122) having mouths for hands I suppose, but that's beside the point.
Thing is, it takes time to create those kinds of resources, and time means drawing more of your deck, increasing the chances you’ll have your Ancient One at the time you can play it. Playing the maximum amount means it's likely some of the copies end up as resources. Not a huge problem, of course, since you'll need resources, but having cards that are almost guaranteed to become resources does limit your options a little.
Three Times Is a Charm
Fortunately, there is a way to make your resource choices very easy, or very difficult, depending on how much you like to be led towards a certain decision by the cards you play. When you play the game, there already are plenty of tough choices to make, so, being given a little direction can be quite liberating and give you some breathing space to think about all other the dilemmas you face.
Enter the all-or-nothing cards. Alaskan Sledge Dog (Mountains of Madness, F16) is one of those cards that makes life simple. Even post FAQ erratum you'll either play the maximum amount or none at all, and since it's both a suboptimal neutral resource and an above the curve character, it means that you usually don't have to think that long whether you'll resource or play it.
Bringer of Fire (Ancient Horrors, F14) is equally straightforward. Before his cult gets active, there is very little fire bringing going on. So, you'll play three and possibly have some recruitment plan running on the background. And even if a third Bringer doesn't bring much to the table, having one on hand in case one of the others snuff it, isn't a bad idea.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Some of the Mi-Go even fall under this. Speaking of the Fungi, a long time ago, they've set up camp on the edge of our solar system, on Yuggoth. This world is generally believed to be Pluto – 40 AU or 330 Light-minutes away, but it may in actuality refer to Tyche which is a shocking 15,000 AU or 3 Light-months away!
And what the Mi-Go found on Yuggoth may have been more than they bargained for. Something that may have aided in their development of brain preservation techniques, but still, something extremely dangerous. And even with the most optimistic guesses at the identity of Yuggoth, bridging the distance between it and Earth requires relativistic means of travel to be practical. The kind of magic-like super-science (The Twilight Beckons, F12) and geometric abnormalities that may have rekindled a long-forgotten link between the earthbound cult of Ghatanothoa and their Yuggothian patron daemon as an unintended side effect.
Whatever the reason, Ghatanothoa (Initiations of the Favored, F44) is stirring. And he has an ability that fits the Cthulhu faction game plan well. Like the Ghatanothoa, Lord of the Volcano (Ancient Horrors, F11) version it’s all about what you have on hand. This time he aims for the long game and does so in two distinct ways. The longer the game lasts, the better the chance you'll redraw a second copy of Ghatanothoa for his “reveal and mummify” action. In addition, the more you use this, the more you artificially lengthen your deck reducing the risk of being 'decked' to death.
Aligning the Stars
Being a big invulnerable character may make it weird to say that he supplements Cthulhu (The Wailer Below, F64) very well – After all, big and invulnerable goes well with a lot of things. But targeted destruction without draining domains does add to the more cost intensive, chaotic destruction Cthulhu causes. Together the giants are a sight to behold – although you’ll go double mad.
If you’re one of the mad cultists that tries to make a Things in the Ground (Secrets of Arkham, F31) deck, Ghatanothoa is your man. ‘Being’ Yog-Sothoth means having access to all kinds of deck-manipulation tricks to find your Things in the Ground quickly, set up things to put into play with that card and use it to keep a supply of Ghatanothoa’s on hand for the effect. Another added bonus is that if you have the ability to look at the top cards of your deck, the shuffle part of the action means that you’ll have another shot at finding the cards you need.
That’s what it means to play Cthulhu faction cards. Big, expensive monsters and destruction effects. And it all comes together on Ghatanothoa.
Based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft and his literary circle, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game takes two players deep into the Cthulhu Mythos where investigators clash with the Ancient Ones and Elder Gods for the fate of the world. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Asylum Pack expansions to the core game.
A particularly nice preview about a particularly nice card!
It's usually difficult to effectively play Ancient Ones, but it's always cool if you manage to pull it off. And this one has a very interesting mechanism to use its special ability.
P.S.: I love the Tyche link :-)
I love this sort of ability as an encouragement to run more copies of uniques. I'd like to see this continued and explored further for more characters and factions.